Shillong: Former President APJ Abdul Kalam, a popular President between 2002 and 2007, passed away on Monday after he collapsed during a lecture in Shillong.
Kalam (84) took ill at a function in Shillong and was rushed to the hospital, M Kharkrang, SP Khasi Hills, said.
The former President collapsed during a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management in Shillong at around 6.30 pm and was taken to the hospital. TV reports earlier said that Kalam suffered a massive cardiac arrest at the function at IIM Shillong.
He had been admitted to the ICU at the hospital.
“The former president was brought almost dead to our hospital. He is in a critical condition. We are trying to revive the patient,” John Sailo Ryntathiang, director of Bethany Hospital, had told Indian news agency.
“He is in the Intensive Care Unit. We are examining him. We suspect that it could be cardiac arrest,” Sailo had said.
Meghalaya Governor V Shanmughanathan and Chief Secretary PBO Warjri visited Bethany hospital where Kalam has been admitted.
Chief Secretary PBO Warjiri told reporters outside the hospital that he had spoken to Union Home Secretary LC Goyal asking for necessary arrangements to be made for carrying Kalam’s body from Guwahati to Delhi on Tuesday morning.
Government will declare national mourning for seven days, said Union Home Secretary LC Goyal.
Earlier during the day, Kalam had tweeted about his function at IIM Shillong.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, “His contribution as a scientist and as a President was unparalleled. The whole country will mourn his death and we will all continue to remain inspired by him.”
Former President Pratibha Patil also reacted and told Times Now, “He was the best human being I came across. I feel very sorry. He had good humour, had very good presence of mind and always wanted to give something to society.”
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, saying that the “nation has lost a real bharat ratna.”
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra also reacted to Kalam’s demise as he told India Today, “He was a man who was always surrounded by knowledge. He never had an iota of politics around him.”